candlestick

April 1849-December 1849


The Collected Letters, Volume 24


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JWC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 23 July 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490723-JWC-JAC-01; CL 24: 142-144


JWC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE

Rawdon / Monday [23 July 1849]

Dearest John

I am still here, but to start for Auchtertool, (via Newcastle and Berwick) tomorrow morning—God knows but tomorrow night I may sleep at Haddington!—tomorrow night or the next— I have this notion in my head. that the first place I stop at in Scotland should be there, and that I should do best there unknown of by anyone.— I mean to visit the Donaldsons by and by—but not yet—I could not front all the fuss they and others would make about me—not till I have got used to the feeling of being in Scotland— And so I purpose stopping there one day, all by myself, in the first instance. It may not be tomorrow night however—for I am determined not to overdo myself—as Jenny Clow used to say; “theres nought pushing; the rowans is a i the loft”1—better stay a night on the road, and have a small bill at an Inn, than have the blood sent to my head for weeks by too much railing— So if I find myself getting fevered I will stop for the night at Newcastle or Morpeth— At all events I must be in Edinr at twelve of the day on Thursday having written to Jeanie to meet me there—

I have not felt so well here as at the Neubergs—the Atmosphere is far from suiting me as well—I mean the moral atmosphere of course; for on the top of a Yorkshire Hill one cannot but have fresh air enough— I have to wink hard at much that is going on, and winking at all don't suit me— I went to Benrydden on Thursday morning and staid till Friday night—quite long enough for making up my mind that the place is “no Good” (as Elizabeth's2 phrase is.) The Dr strikes me as a goodnatured humbug—and the whole thing to “have a do at the bottom of it”— Like a fool I let myself out of a scientific curiosity, be what they call “packed”—a process which I was told afterwards required a certain preparation and caution, but I submitted myself to it, on the Dr's suggestion, “quite promiscuously”—a bathwoman in a thick white flannel gown like a white Russian bear came to my bedside at six in the morning and swathed me tightly, like a Mummy, first in wet sheets then in dry blankets, then heaped the feather bed and bedclothes a-top of me, leaving only my face uncovered then—went away—for an hour! committing me to what Paulet calls my “abstract ideas,” and the sense of suffocation; all the blood in my body seeming to get pressed up into my head—one only thought remained to me,—could I roll myself over, feather bed and all, on to the floor—and then roll on to the bell—if there were one—and ring it with my teeth— I tried with superhuman efforts—but in vain—I was a mummy and no mistake! so nothing remained for me but to put off going raging mad till the last possible moment— When the bathwoman came back at seven she was rather shocked at my state—put me into a shallow bath and poured several pitchers of water on me to compose my mind— But I have not got over that accursed ‘packing’ to this hour—it shattered me all to tatters—

Pray dont dawdle too long considering about Miss Neuberg— “He who considers everything will never decide on anything”3—and I will not have you squander away Miss Neuberg like all the other young women you have cast a practical eye upon—

Now good night—I have my clothes to pack and a letter to write to Mr C—

Kind regards to them all

Ever yours affectionately

Jane Carlyle

Next address—

Auchtertool Manse / Kircaldy